Today at Kingsford

Orb weaver, possibly Neoscona sp.

Something I’ve noticed since moving here is just how different the household fauna is from what my parents get in their house. This guy has spent the entire day on the wall of the entry hallway. Or actually, it might be a she, given the lack of noticeable pedipalps (modified mouthparts that resemble boxing gloves and are used by the male in transferring sperm to the female). She hasn’t moved much all day, perhaps about eight inches from the wall to the nearby door trim. A bright orange spider with a tan-coloured abdomen, I’m sure finding this in my parents’ place would have stuck in my mind.

This is an orb weaver spider, the sort that make those stereotypical spiderwebs that get drawn on Hallowe’en decorations. Orb weavers generally have large, rotund abdomens, and third legs that are shortened and modified for building and walking on their special webs. There are some 180 species of orb weaver north of Mexico, but few are readily identifiable to species without examination of the genitalia under a microscope. Most can be assigned to genus, though, and I think this may be a member of Neoscona, the Spotted Orbweavers. The genus Araneus is very similar, though, separated by the groove in the abdomen running lengthwise in the former, and crosswise across the abdomen in the latter, though it can sometimes be tricky to see without magnification. I’ve submitted it to BugGuide.net for ID, hopefully someone there will be able to ID it.

Orb weaver, possibly Neoscona sp.

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4 responses to “Today at Kingsford

  1. “I think this may be a member of Neoscona, the Spotted Orbweavers. The genus Araneus is very similar, though, separated by the groove in the abdomen running lengthwise in the former, and crosswise across the abdomen in the latter, …”

    Very useful bit of info. I noticed those grooves for the first time last week. Running crosswise, so that sort of confirms my first guess that what I was looking at was Araneus. Trouble was, the more I studied it, the more I could see that it was different than the ones I’m used to, so I was wondering.

    So much to learn!

  2. Your teaching works! Five months ago, you left a comment on one of my Wordless Wednesdays (and rendering it, in the process, one of my most memorable ones to date) . This morning, as soon as I saw the word “pedipalps”, I knew exactly what you were talking about. :)

  3. All I can say is never kill a spider: it brings bad luck on the third day (Belgian proverb).

  4. Pingback: Today at Kingsford - Marbled Orbweaver « the Marvelous in nature

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